Parents raid children’s savings to help cover the cost of rising household bills

  • More than one in five (22%) parents have borrowed money from their children’s savings

  • Nearly two thirds (64%) of those have done so in the last 12 months

  • A third (33%) used the money to pay household bills, 32% paid an unexpected cost, 20% paid down debts

Parents are raiding their kids’ savings to help cover the cost of rising household bills and to pay down debts, according to research by leading financial mutual, Scottish Friendly. A survey1 of 1,000 UK parents found more than one in five (22%) have withdrawn money from their children’s savings. The majority of those (64%) have done so in the last 12 months as families cope with high inflation and rising interest rates.

Parents have used their children’s savings to pay household bills (33%), cover unexpected costs (32%), pay off debts (20%), buy birthday or Christmas presents (19%) and to go on holiday (13%). Household budgets in the UK continue to be stretched and Scottish Friendly’s data shows that the number of Junior ISAs opened by parents for their kids has fallen over the past year. The survey reveals that the majority (87%) of parents are worried about how much they should be saving for their children

But while four in ten (40%) admit they could afford to regularly save more, over half 54% say they have more money set aside for their kids than they do themselves. In fact, two thirds (66%) of parents are more motivated to save for their children than they are for themselves.

Kevin Brown, savings specialist at Scottish Friendly, comments:

 “Borrowing money from their children’s savings is a last resort for parents desperately trying to make ends meet. “Inflation may be slowing but living costs are still rising and that’s pushing more families into the red. “Budgeting only gets you so far and if borrowing money isn’t an option, then dipping into your family’s savings is a difficult choice many are being forced to make."

Brown Continues:

“As a general rule, it’s important for households to have some money held in cash that they can easily-access in case of emergency without penalty and free of charge.“But if you’re saving for your children’s future then you should think about how best to maximise your potential returns over the longer-term. “Saving rates are going up, but there are few accounts paying a rate of interest anywhere close to the current rate of inflation."

Brown Concludes:

“Parents may want to think about investing some of their money, starting with a little and often approach to make the most of compounding.“Times are tough for a lot of families at the moment, but things will get better and it’s important to keep one eye on the future and how to make the most of your money for your children.”


Tom Briffitt, Senior Consultant, MRM


[email protected]

Editors notes:

Remember that the value of investments can go down as well as up and you could get back less than you paid in. Past performance is no guide to future results. Tax treatment depends on individual circumstances which can change in the future.

About Scottish Friendly

Scottish Friendly is a leading UK mutual life and investments organisation. It provides investors and their families with a wide range of investment and protection solutions and provides life and investment products and services to other financial organisations.

Scottish Friendly has roots stretching back to 1862. Established as the City of Glasgow Friendly Society, its name changed in October 1992 when it took over Scottish Friendly Assurance.

In recent years Scottish Friendly has significantly restructured its business. The Group has flourished through a three-part growth strategy of organic growth, mergers and acquisitions, and business process outsourcing.

Scottish Friendly, Galbraith House, 16 Blythswood Square, Glasgow, G2 4HJ

Scottish Friendly Assurance Society Limited. Authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.

Scottish Friendly Asset Managers Limited. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority